After Hans’ 30th birthday celebration at Deagan’s Pumpkin Fest, my mom’s been digging on the “upscale comfort food” vibe. With her birthday just a month after my husband’s, I wanted to treat her to a nice meal out. I told her to pick the spot and she said, “you should pick – somewhere like Deagan’s would be great”. I thought I would spread the love to the East side this time and one spot immediately popped into my head: Washington Place Bistro & Inn.
My mom remembered the building as being the old Baricelli Inn, but was immediately sold when I started telling her about my previous successful adventures at the Little Italy hot spot. I made a reservation for my mom, my brother and I to enjoy her birthday meal, excited to have them both try the place for the first time.
When making our reservation on OpenTable, I noted we’d be celebrating my mom’s birthday that evening. I have to applaud the Washington Place team as it seemed like everyone on staff that evening knew it was mom’s special day! She was taken back to get so many warm birthday wishes throughout the meal. Our kind and well informed server Alex was an expert of the menu and had no trouble answering any of our questions or providing excellent services.
Both Mom and I started with the night’s special of a seasonal salad:
Mixed greens, olives and parmesan cheese were paired with a wonderful dressing that I could have bathed in. As I normally don’t like a heavily dressed salad, I ended up consuming my side portion with gusto! Simple yet effective, mom and I both enjoyed this starter.
When my brother heard we were headed to a restaurant in Little Italy, he assumed we were going for Italian. Oops. Perhaps this is Washington Place’s opportunity to add a rockin’ spaghetti and meatballs dish to their menu, a la the version that used to be on the Fahrenheit menu? Damn that was the best bowl of pasta I ever had…
A bit thrown off, my brother opted for a familiar choice: the WP Burger, served on a western reserve bakery bun, with grass-fed Swiss, grilled red onion, roasted garlic aioli, and fresh fries:
Drew requested to keep it simple with ketchup, mustard and pickle. Alas, no pickles on site, but my brother still enjoyed his meal, easily finishing off the burger and the majority of the fries (this after already attacking the bread course in a manner that would have made Hans proud).
As for me, I had a hard time deciding on what to order, but I was quickly drawn (not surprisingly if you know me at all) to the PEI Mussels made with local chorizo, cherry tomatoes, fennel, white wine, garlic and tarragon.
While the menu’s preparation noted this dish to be made with ale, the kitchen easily subbed white wine for my gluten intolerant needs. I was highly pleased with my selection and forgot how much chorizo can add to a bowl of mussels. I wished the chorizo was a bit spicer, but that’s just my high level spice tolerant tongue speaking. I highly enjoyed my appetizer option turned entrée and ate every bite.
I also ordered a side of the Steamed Asparagus:
Just as expected, perfectly prepared. It was a nice veggie addition to the broth of my mussels.
For her birthday meal, Mom ordered the Moulard Duck Breast with spiced sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a black cherry glace.
She had trouble deciding on an option, but decided on the duck when she realized it was a protein she never makes in her own kitchen. This dish did not disappoint the birthday lady, or her daughter who stole a bite. The cherry combined with the duck was perfection to me and the Brussel sprouts had a nice bit of toastiness to them. I missed out on a bite of the sweet potatoes but Mom reported it only elevated the duck/cherry combo to another level.
After dinner, we were highly content in spirit and bellies and decided to pass on dessert…
…but was surprised with Alex brought out three glasses of champagne on the house to celebrate my mom’s birthday! Not going to lie, we enjoyed finishing our meal off with a bit of bubbly – I might have to add that to my usual post-dinner routine!
LONG STORY SHORT: Once again, I was extremely satisfied with my experience at Washington Place Bistro & Inn. Not only was the food outstanding, the services blew us out of the water. Many kudos to everyone involved in keeping that fine establishment running so smoothly, not matter the evening that you visit. I foresee many more visits back to one of my favorite Little Italy establishments – even if it’s NOT Italian!